The NFU Mutual Polocrosse Championship for 2013 was held on the 17th and 18th August at The Pony Club Championships at Cholmondeley Castle in Cheshire. Twenty five teams from both branches and centres all around the country took part in the hard fought competitions but ultimately it was North Warwickshire who walked away with the lion’s share of the prizes. They won the Championship class, defeating Over Dalkeith in the final on Sunday afternoon. They also won both halves of Class 2 – The Charles Mason Open Trophy as their senior side defeated Brecon and Talybont in the final and their Junior side beat Cheshire Hunt North in their final.
Over Dalkeith got their reward for their long trip from Scotland as they won Class 3 – The Stoneleigh Junior Championship – with the United Pack in second place.
The Brookes Mini Championship also went to a team who had had a long journey, as the North Down, who had travelled from Northern Ireland, won with Ledbury Hunt in second place. Archie Nield of the North Down also won Best Sportsman of the Championships, while Izzy Baker-Creswell of the Percy Hunt won Best Sportswoman.
The Championships were sponsored by NFU Mutual who contributed prizes for all the classes and there was also two prizes from the Worshipful Company of Loriners. The Loriners gave stirrup leathers each player in the winning team of the Championship class and also sponsored a bursary for future training. This bursary was awarded by Pony Club Chairman Cherry Mitchell to Triley Fields Equestrian Centre who were playing in their first championships.
The tack and turnout competition produced a very difficult task for the tack checkers with very close marks in each section. However, it was again North Warwickshire who won Class 1 by half a point. Brecon and Talybont defeated Ledbury Hunt in Class 2A, both finished on maximum points of 90 but Brecon’s superior tail plaiting won them the day. Class 2B went to Cheshire Hunt North with Over Dalkeith in second place. Class 3 went to Mobberley Riding School as they overcame Percy Hunt by a point and in Class 4 it was the newcomers Triley Fields who achieved a maximum score of 90 to win and push Rockwood Harriers into second spot with a score of 89.
The Polocrosse Championships would not be possible without the brilliant support of all the Branches and Centres, the players, the parents, the helpers and supporters who made the time and effort to come to the Championships. A special thank you to the very efficient officials from the Polocrosse Committee, particularly to Dave Brookes, Chairman and Chief Steward, for his expertise and his wife Sue for all their help in running the Championships and providing the Order of Play. Thank you to Deirdre Glover, Mike and Dawn Goodfellow and Peggy Alpin for officiating as Field Marshalls and Debbie Miller and her team of tack checkers (editor’s note: mainly consistenting of her daughters. We can honestly say there is nothing scarier than being tack checked by a mob of Millers) for running the tack and turnout judging. Also, thank you to Pauline Coster and Shaun Gillanders who organised the penning, Iain Heaton for his exciting commentary and Tom Simkin for organising the umpires and line marking.
Also many, many thanks go to the professional UKPA umpires for putting so much time, effort and support over the weekend at the Championships, it was very much appreciated, particularly Chief Umpire Tom Simkin, Sarah Simkin, Emily Gilfillan, Tim James, Anna Kimber, Matt Fynn, Pip Harland, Debbie Harris, Alexa Holland, Hayley Marsh, Colin Williams and Louie Cornforth.
Finally, a huge thank you must go to The NFU Mutual for their kind sponsorship and support of The Pony Club Polocrosse Championships, which included their brilliant additional prizes with NFU numnahs for the winners of each section and lead ropes which were given to 2nd & 3rd placed teams from each class and of course the NFU Jelly Bean sweets, which were very much appreciated and enjoyed by all competitors.
Well done to you all and look forward to seeing you next year and hopefully with some more new teams!